ETI 024 | Split Step – Be Quick


Three R’s – ready read and then react.

Ready – feet spread, knees softly bent, weight on the balls of the feet

Read – as quickly as possible read the ball, see clearly is this ball coming to the forehand or backhand side

React – turn your shoulders and hips to the ball as quickly as possible.

The split step is your transition to ready from shot to shot during a rally.  But consider, baseball infielders wait in a ready position without a split step – would it work in tennis if we were ready but “hopped” less?

19 Comments

  • ben

    Reply Reply June 24, 2013

    What exactly is the split step? Demonstrate it, please.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply June 25, 2013

      Ben – scroll thru all the podcasts and you will see more – but this move occurs whenever the opponent makes contact – so like an infielder in baseball you could move quickly in any direction to the ball
      Jim

  • Skip

    Reply Reply June 24, 2013

    Hi Jim, Surprised yoy mentioned Murray, I often think if I jumped as high as he does on my return of serve my vision would be blurry for two games.. Just me I guess..

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply June 24, 2013

      Perhaps – but watch his quickness about the court – as effortless as any of the best
      Jim

  • Will

    Reply Reply May 18, 2013

    It seems to me a lot of people at the club level are too early on their splits, meaning they split and then they decide where to go. At this point they almost need to do another split to get going quickly.

    The pros seem to split and use the split to get going quickly.
    The club players seem to split, land, think and then go. At this point the split was pointless.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 18, 2013

      Will – I agree on the timing of this thing – but as with most stuff in tennis – it is often easier said than done
      Jim

  • Szewai

    Reply Reply May 18, 2013

    It can help us more if you can include some demonstration

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 18, 2013

      I will do more action in future podcasts – good idea – no worries

  • Stavroula

    Reply Reply May 18, 2013

    How could we quicker read the opponent and the incomming ball?

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 18, 2013

      This has to do with your court positioning and the quality of your shot – there is no way to anticipate if the opponent is hitting deep and in control of the court – but you can react quicker if you find the depth first and then start to see when they are hitting late, or off balance – then the trick is to start a moment sooner to the part of the court you anticipate
      Jim

  • Prof Hunt

    Reply Reply May 17, 2013

    Morning Jim Another great bit of information, will watch the split from some top pros,
    Your English fan
    Steve

  • Shawn

    Reply Reply May 17, 2013

    Sorry Jim! I accidently posted my previous comment in the wrong place!

  • Shawn

    Reply Reply May 17, 2013

    Hi Jim — Some instructors advocate hitting the two handed backhand like a forehand on the opposite side. So, for a righty, the two handed backhand would be hit like a lefty forehand.

    To do this the bottom hand on the grip does not pull very much;most of the work is done by the top hand on the grip. So, for a righty, the top left hand would use a forehand grip like the Eastern, the bottom right hand would use the Continental grip, and would generate little pull during the swing.

    As a practice drill to get a feel for this hit practice balls using the normal left hand forehand grip on top, but on the bottom, with the right hand, only grip the end of the grip with a few fingers, like with the middle, index and thumb.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 18, 2013

      Agassi said his two hander began with the right arm pulling and at impact the left hand carried the racquet thru – seems there are quite a few ways to hit this two handed stroke – but to me there was and is beauty in the one handed backhands of Rosewall, Laver, Hoad, Edberg and now Federer (certainly there are many more on this list)

  • jules

    Reply Reply May 17, 2013

    I note that it takes a higher level of fitness to be able to do a split step between every shot. I think that by doing it as often as one can, fitness will gradually improve.

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 17, 2013

      Jules – perhaps, but do not over do it – I notice that many of the best movers have somehow the lightest if not lowest hop
      Jim

  • Shawn

    Reply Reply May 17, 2013

    Or, should baseball infielders also be taught to split step when the batter swings?

    • Jim McLennan

      Reply Reply May 17, 2013

      Shawn – I really have no idea – somehow I think baseball may have it right
      Jim

  • Dan MacTavish

    Reply Reply May 17, 2013

    Hi Jim, I really like your instructions, I find them helpful and I try to copy or apply and imitate them. I am a passionate 61 year old player and instructor. You do a good job Jim, in communicating, thank you, with great regard. Dan MacTavish.

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